Harris Theater names new president, handing reins to ex-marketing chief Patricia Barretto
This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance have announced the appointment of Patricia Barretto as its new Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols President and Chief Executive Officer Endowed Chair, effective immediately.
“We are thrilled to have Patricia at the helm during this important moment in the Harris Theater’s history,” said Alexandra Nichols, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Patricia has been instrumental in the theater’s accomplishments of the past two years, and her leadership, experience, and passion for the arts will ensure its success well into the future.”
Patricia Barretto joined the Harris Theater executive team as Vice President of Marketing & Communications in 2015, and in 2016 took on an expanded role, overseeing the marketing, development, and community engagement departments as Executive Vice President of External Affairs.
Under Ms. Barretto’s leadership, the Harris Theater has surpassed its sales goals for two consecutive seasons and in 2016-17 achieved its highest annual fundraising level in five years, all while broadening its donor and subscriber bases at a time when many arts organizations are seeing those numbers decline.
The Theater now embarks on an ambitious 14th season, which will open with Monteverdi 450 with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, and English Baroque Soloists on October 12, and includes the return of American Ballet Theatre in February, appearing exclusively at the Harris, its new home in Chicago.
Ms. Barretto is joined by Laura Hanssel, Chief Financial Officer since 2013, and Lori Dimun, who has been with the Harris Theater since 2011 and was recently appointed Chief Operating Officer, to form the Theater’s executive leadership team.
Ms. Barretto said, “I am proud to work alongside these exceptionally talented women, and to lead this organization into the next decade. The Harris Theater has come to represent the very best in the performing arts, and it is an honor to serve as its president and CEO.”
Ms. Barretto previously held the position of Executive Director of Toronto’s Opera Atelier, where she guided the baroque opera company into an internationally recognized arts organization. With her at the helm, Opera Atelier expanded its profile to international stages, including Mozartwöche (Salzburg), the Salzburg Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival (upstate New York), Opera Columbus (Columbus, Ohio), the Royal Opera House (Versailles), and Milan’s famous La Scala opera house.
Drawing from more than 20 years of combined experience with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Canadian Stage, and Opera Atelier, Ms. Barretto is an expert in programming, brand development, fundraising, and innovative marketing strategies.
As an active member of the arts community in Toronto, Ms. Barretto served on various panels including the Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council, recognizing the country’s most talented and innovative artists. She is passionate about nurturing young professionals, developing new audiences, and fostering lifelong patrons of the arts.
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
The Harris Theater is Chicago’s primary residence for music and dance, connecting diverse audiences with outstanding artists from across the city, the nation, and the world. The Theater’s activities fall under three central strategies: support for local music and dance companies, presentation of national and international artists, and community engagement and educational programs. Now in its fourteenth season, the Theater has earned national recognition as a distinctive model for collaboration, performance, and artistic advancement.
Today, the Harris Theater’s original group of 12 resident companies has grown to include 30 diverse music and dance companies, and its Harris Theater Presents series has featured world-renowned artists and ensembles, including Daniel Barenboim, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Angélique Kidjo, Hamburg Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, and Stephen Sondheim. The Harris Theater’s community engagement initiatives build bridges between artists and community members, providing master classes, artist talks, and free tickets for more than 35 partner organizations throughout Chicago.
To learn more about the Harris Theater, please visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org or call the Box Office at (312) 334-7777 to request a brochure or additional information.